Blog: Fakeness

masks—You must stop the Social Media Crap.


—It’s fake. Self-promotion. Making others witness your struggles, your success. Liking what they say. Typing pseudo-funny comments. Striking up conversations with complete strangers. At random. Getting them to like you. Need I go on?

—No, I see your point. But how’s that different from life?

—Excuse me?

—Well, in life, we’re trying to be liked as well. We talk to strangers on the bus. We feel good when someone compliments us. Bad when someone yells. We  listen to others, put our best foot forward, try to make our mark in the world. Occasionally, we talk about our weaknesses, our failures, our insecurities, to show that we’re human and perhaps gain some advice or consolation. We connect through our stories.

—You think life in general is fake.

—It is. We pose, constantly. So I suggest a redefinition of the word “fake.” If life is fake and yet life is the only reality we know, then fakeness must be real. Fakeness may define us as human beings.

—You’re not making any sense.

—What about: despite all the fakeness, true friendships exist. Even though we self-promote ourselves relentlessly, every day, trying to be loved and accepted, true love and acceptance may still come our way, despite our flaws, despite the fact that most people can see straight through our strategies of fakeness.

—I’m lost.

—All I’m saying is: I’m not quitting the Social Media Crap.

Blog: Gender

In my dream, my husband is a woman. Not a beautiful woman with whom, despite my being straight, I can imagine myself in bed. He is a male-looking woman, resembling his reality male-self too much to attract me as someone from my own sex. In fact, I only know he is a woman because of the energy (s)he radiates and the curve of his/her chest.

Next, I find myself examining my own body, hoping, perhaps, I have changed gender as well, which isn’t the case.

My husband stands on stage and sings her heart out in a scene stolen from an early Lynch movie: dark bar-theater, red curtains, sparse audience. (S)he sings and sings, convincingly, and I am invaded by love, swept off my feet, in defiance of everything.

When I open my eyes and see my husband’s head, half-buried in the pillow, relaxed in sleep, I feel like the luckiest person in the world.

The Sound and The Fury (this is not a review) 

Today, I began reading The Sound and the Fury.

Most Americans have read this novel in high school or college, but I can safely say most Dutch have not. Our education on English literature was extremely English, meaning: it focused on writing from Great Britain and Ireland (Steinbeck and Dickinson being the exceptions). Apart from Woolf, Orwell, and Joyce, it also cared little about the 20th century.

Although I was happy to learn Shakespeare sonnets by heart, and could never get enough of Jane Austen, I felt retrospectively sad that I didn’t discover American masters such as Hemingway, Salinger, and Bellow until long after my graduation. 

So today: Faulkner. The dialect is less difficult to understand than I had thought, and the style is far less complicated, too. It’s the perspective that’s troubling and intriguing all the same. I’m sticking with it!

Blog: Atmospheric Personalities

They’ve named a hurricane after me, my husband says and he sounds proud. It was only a tropical storm this morning, he adds, but I’m sure it’s a hurricane now.

We Google his atmospheric namesake and learn that tropical storm Erica has already stolen his thunder. Danny is nothing but a “weak and disorganized cyclone with minimal impact.”

Looking disappointed, he suggests we search for my name. We do and meet tropical storm Claire from 1969, a depression.

Weak and disorganized, my husband says. That’s me.

A depression, I say.

We turn the computer off and let the evening wind down.

Blog: Legs

According to certain people in my life, I don’t exploit my feminine charm as much as I should. I guess I’m just one of these women who prefer being appreciated for other qualities, etcetera. But I must admit that on rare occasions, I draw satisfaction from recognizing my physical potential.

Today, jogging in the Luxembourg gardens, I passed a group of firemen in training in front of the Medici fountain. They were placidly listening to their coach until they caught sight of me. Over twenty heads turned. I couldn’t help but flash the young men a smile. Even the coach looked at me as though he’d never seen a woman with bare legs like mine before. Perhaps he hadn’t.

Back home, I made a note to myself: your legs may be of use some day.

Blog: Underworld

I’m re-reading Don Delillo’s Underworld.

The first time I read it, I was twenty-two. I liked it yet thought it was overabundantly American.

I still think that, but now I also think it’s a masterpiece I can never live without.

The difference between these two responses makes me worried about who I was at the age of twenty-two.

I soothe myself with the explanation that I probably missed half of Delillo’s brilliance because of my poorer comprehension of English at the time.

Blog: The Era of TV series

We arrived by elevator on a moon-shy night. Two pretty boys in ripped and burned-out T-shirts led us into an anteroom where a doctor was sliding on medical mittens. She was tugging at the latex with her teeth. We were told to strip, leave our scarves, hats and umbrellas on a steaming pile of abandoned garments. The soaked up rain in wool ponchos and trench coats was evaporating; there were high levels of human-radiated heat.

“I’d like to order a hamburger,” a broad man said. He wore a motorcycle jacket and mirrored sunglasses. His hair was black and shiny, shaped into a monstrous crest.
“Just because I’m wearing my uniform, doesn’t mean I’m on duty,” I said, softening the blow with a smile. “Besides, I haven’t seen Lafayette yet. Perhaps he’s not coming.”

We eased into a bustling salon, sealed up in plastic. Faces were stamped with excitement, suspense, kaleidoscopic paints. A zombie offered us a cocktail. Our hands reached out, but we were bushwhacked, bear-hugged from behind by Spartacus.
“Don’t let this corpse bleed you dry,” he warned me, pointing to the dapper vampire at my side.
“Happy Birthday, Spartacus,” the vampire said.

We traded small talk for gifts, eyeing the characters around us. Near the bar, a full-breasted redhead showed off her shapely behind in a tight scarlet over-knee dress. Three guys in bulky sneakers were semi-loafing on canes, debating whether to pop another pseudo-pill; transvestites dotted the dance floor, some allured in low-cut attire, others in checkered tweed suits. I spied a car mechanic, one fat grizzly bear, a state trooper. They weren’t talking.

“Hey Alice, what’s up?” an orange-suited prisoner asked.
“Alice is in Wonderland,” I replied. “I’m her evil twin—packing fairy blood.”

Lady Gaga was turned-up. A man sporting tighty-whities waltzed in, otherwise well-dressed from the waist up. The vampire and I started prancing. Occasionally, I offered him my throat. In between highballs and chitchat, the champagne flowed. When the green surgeon arrived, we knew it was time to quit the joint.

After the age of Almodovar came the year of Disney, and now, the era of TV series. We wondered what Spartacus would opt for next. At least we learned one thing: being mutilated, dead or inhuman doesn’t stop you from having a good time.